According to the filings in Blake J Robbins v Lower Merion School District (PA) et al, the laptops issued to high-school students in the well-heeled Philly suburb have webcams that can be covertly activated by the schools' administrators, who have used this facility to spy on students and even their families. The issue came to light when the Robbins's child was disciplined for "improper behavior in his home" and the Vice Principal used a photo taken by the webcam as evidence. The suit is a class action, brought on behalf of all students issued with these machines.
If true, these allegations are about as creepy as they come. I don't know about you, but I often have the laptop in the room while I'm getting dressed, having private discussions with my family, and so on. The idea that a school district would not only spy on its students' clickstreams and emails (bad enough), but also use these machines as AV bugs is purely horrifying.
Schools are in an absolute panic about kids divulging too much online, worried about pedos and marketers and embarrassing photos that will haunt you when you run for office or apply for a job in 10 years. They tell kids to treat their personal details as though they were precious.
your privacy is worthless and you shouldn't try to protect it.
Update: The school district admits that student laptops were shipped with software for covertly activating their webcams, but denies wrongdoing.
Robbins v. Lower Merion School District (PDF)
(Image: IMG_6395, a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike image from bionicteaching's photostream)
The online encyclopedia Wikipedia is inaccessible in Turkey, with officials saying it was blocked as an “administrative measure” thereby explaining why the courts weren’t involved. Turkish media says the government asked Wikipedia to take stuff down, but was ignored. “After technical analysis and legal consideration based on the Law Nr. 5651 [governing the internet], an […]
WTF Just Happened Today? is a seven-day a week newsletter that summarizes the most important political stories of the day. And it’s now available on Amazon Echo! Get the skill here.
Amy Robertson was set to be the $93,000-a-year principal of Pittsburg High School in Kansas. But she quit before her first day after the student newspaper found that her Masters’ degree and Ph. D. were from a diploma mill. “She was going to be the head of our school, and we wanted be assured that […]
Bamboo has lots of uses beyond just being panda food. Things like bikes, roads, scaffolding, and musical instruments are made from the fast-growing grass. But unless you are participating in a tropical-themed LARP, you probably wouldn’t want a shirt made from bamboo stalks. So why do bamboo bed sheets make any sense? Because yarn extracted from […]
If you want to work in tech, but don’t have any desire to code web apps to help businesses sell things to other business, you might want to consider a career in cybersecurity. Judging from the apparent complete infiltration of Russian hackers in American cyberspace, it seems fair to speculate that there’s a major shortage of […]
All moms are different. But all moms like getting flowers on Mother’s Day, and that’s a fact (not, however a fact we can document in any fashion.) Instead of getting chewed out for forgetting to call her on the second Sunday of May, you can take care of it ahead of time with Teleflora’s flower […]